Small, But Mighty: Strides to Start Celebrating the Little Victories in Your Hospital

Female nurse speaking with a patient in a welcoming manner

“Slow and steady wins the race.” Remember this phrase? This underlines the method of sustaining the simplicity of “quality over quantity.”

Hospitals are routinely exploring fresh new ideas to improve the patient, employee, and physician experience. But where do you begin? Hospitals tend to center their focus on striving towards the big improvements and projects, while overlooking the small victories. They may be small, but their impacts are mighty. Even better. You can start tomorrow at no cost to your budget.

All the small things

Start observing and appreciating the tiny accomplishments in the hospital. Whether or not you already do this, it’s the little things that can go the distance.

Changes don’t need to be strenuous to have a big impact. For example:

Smile more. Smiles are contagious as well as impactful. Maybe a smile and a wave is all your patient or coworker needs to liven up their day. It even can be felt through the digital world of communication by your phone calls or emails!

Sit down when you talk with someone. It conveys you have the time to listen and not give a sense of “I’m in a rush” (even if you are).

Open and close each shift with gratitude. Ask yourself, coworkers, or patients what they are thankful for and is currently going well. So much of life is spent thinking about and writing “to do” lists. Focus on what you have accomplished so you realize your progress. This positivity boost goes a long way in your mental health (making it even easier to smile more!)

Give yourself one gift a day. Some suggestions are making cup of coffee or tea and stepping outside for sunshine during a quick break for a few minutes of quiet time to focus on self care. Self care influences our ability to effectively influence and help others.

A zero-dollar expense, a memorable experience

How many times have you felt like “just another needle in the haystack”? You feel like your time and presence isn’t valued, just…there. There have been several times that the patient’s experience has felt rushed, or unappreciated—it’s time to change that!

Here are some ideas:

Give patients a fun fact about yourself. Then, ask theirs. This helps create a more personable connection and maybe even adds an extra laugh or “inside joke” with each other.

Utilize the whiteboards. Start sharing meaningful information about the person, not just the patient. You can even use the fun facts above that you’ve learned. An example could be “Known as ‘MeeMaw’ to 16 grandkids.”

Share your fun, short stories. Whether that’s something that happened five years or five minutes ago, engage your patients! They are the ones stuck in their rooms with little entertainment, so any effort is likely appreciated. Even better, ask for their fun stories to engage the human in the hospital bed.

 

Stronger connections, stronger teams

Hospital staff is full of frantics and frenzys throughout the busy work week. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t set aside time to build stronger connections within your team. By getting to know your team better, you increase trust and decrease frantic frustration.

Here are some ideas:

Have lunch with someone new. Get to know your team and other departments. Because who knows? Maybe you’ll end up having more in common than you could ever imagine. Friends at work always make the day fly faster.

Start an employee of the month program. Highlight a team member’s greatest accomplishments, skills, and even add a fun, “Did you know?” section to help build comradery.

Have quarterly hospital potlucks. Gather a list of the staff members and what food item they’d like to bring so everyone can look forward to their next break. Have a bite and get to know others.

Try a “high five!” Increase how often you are greeting people by trying this simple exercise. Try saying “hi” to at least 5 people each day you otherwise would just walk past.

Each idea listed above may be small and budget-friendly, but their impacts are mighty. Implementing these strategies into your hospital can develop new, and innovated ways to further advance the patient, employee, and physician experience. Just remember, it’s those hidden, little achievements that should be celebrated, not neglected! Strive for excellence. What are you waiting for?